Mark Stone blogs about two painting exhibitions on view in Venice Sean Scully: Land Sea curated by Danilo Eccher at Palazzo Falier (through November 22) and Peter Doig at Palazzetto Tito.
Stone writes: "Scully’s newer works have gotten much looser, the paint handling is more offhand, drippier, the compositions have opened up and become less structured. The predominant color in these works is an ultramarine blue that occasionally gets lightened, muddied or blurred with acidy yellows or workman reds, dropping the primaries into secondaries and/or tertiaries. In these landscape-y blue works there is a broader swing from dark to light, the stripes open up while the paintings remain more monochromatic. ... Doig’s color is hearty in blocks and stretches, the figuration is respectfully abstracted following Diebenkorn’s and Hockney’s examples, and there’s a bit of Surreal spectacle and art historical play in them. This is Postmodernism done well, and when it works as it does here, it can be pleasing."
Williams writes that "Scully has tried something a little different to his usual approach, letting his slabs of brushed colour 'float' over centres. The background support is aluminum, unyielding and clangingly harsh, a literalism maybe with its own references to 'imagined' sounds. The paint is applied in familiar ways, with heavy, oil-loaded brushmarks. Scully can be subtle in his use of colour, but has always worked tonally in the main, with repetitions, stripes, bars, blocks, almost always on the vertical/horizontal axes... Much in the same way as Scully does, Webb sets up an intent; in this case, a grid is used to imply a staircase – the rock formations of The Grand Staircase Escalante to be specific – an astonishing natural feature in the American mid west... The paintings are sensitive musings on colour, placement and relationship, taking the essential and re-imagining it through this abstracted, almost codified approach... Both Webb and Scully are working out of taste, neutralizing layouts to explore the emotional, maybe lyrical, impact of colour. Whilst each show affords enjoyment, the question is: can colour do more than suggest external factors – be they rhythm, sound, landscape, localised light?"
Betty Wood profiles painter Sean Scully on the occasion of his exhibition Kind of Red at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, on view through July 12, 2014.
Commenting on completing his five-part painting Kind of Red (2013) in five days, Scully remarks "... if something’s right, it’s right. I don’t believe in corrections. I believe in the truth of doing something, and trying to see over time whether it works – I’m not interested in things being perfect.' This practicality leaves no room for nostalgia either: 'I don’t work with doubt – I make something simple, then I leave it..."
Andy Parkinson blogs about the exhibition The Discipline of Painting at Harrington Mill Studios, on view through October 27, 2013. The show features works by David Manley, Sean Scully, David Tremlett, David Ainley, Katrina Blannin, Luke Frost, Lauri Hopkins, Dan Roach, Andy Parkinson, and Trevor Sutton.
Parkinson writes: "It used to be common to divide the discipline of painting into sub-categories or genres, still life, landscape, history painting etc, and whereas there was a time when abstraction looked like it might transcend all those genres it now appears to have become a genre, or tradition, of its own. That tradition could itself be divided into two approaches one that looks 'disciplined,' we might even say 'austere,' as opposed to a looser more casualist approach, where 'spontaneity' and 'improvisation' are the watch words. According to the gallery notes, 'The selection of works on display shows an abiding and durable commitment to a disciplined abstraction that foregrounds an aspect of colour and form and a certain ‘discipline’ in construction.'"
Sam Phillips visits the Barcelona studio of painter Sean Scully in advance of the exhibition Sean Scully: Triptychs at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, on view from November 2 – January 26, 2014.
Scully tells Phillips: "Painting is an animal that is not a dodo: it will not become extinct...It always has the ability to shape-shift itself into something different as an art form." Bemoaning the divide between the art world and artists, he continues: "alot of people are interested in art as a form of entertainment or as a one-liner. I’m interested in mystic profundity, primitive utterance and the whole pathos of the history of painting. This is a deep ambition.’"
Martin Gayford talks to four painters - Tom Phillips, Christopher Le Brun, Michael Craig-Martin, and Sean Scully - about the paintings of Manet on the occasion of the recent exhibition Manet: Portraying Life at the Royal Academy, London.
Gayford writes that each artist "who talks about Manet here admires him as a supreme master of the brush, using it both slowly and at astonishing speed. Suitably, Sean Scully RA pays tribute to Manet the colourist, meaning not that he used a rainbow palette but that he did unprecedented and marvellous things with the shades – sometimes using just black and cream. Michael Craig-Martin RA talks about Manet the modernist, anticipating the century to come in the way he structured a picture, his enigmatic approach to narrative, and – what everybody comes back to – the marvellous things he did to paint with his brush."
Alexandra Koroxenidis previews the exhibition Sean Sully: Doric Order at the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece, on view from May 9 - July 15, 2012.
Koroxenidis writes: "The six featured paintings from the nine in the so-called 'Doric' series, which Scully began in 2008, are partly a response to the financial crisis that has spread throughout the Western world and is particularly acute in Greece. They also offer a more profound reflection of the Western values of humanism, moderation, and humility that our culture of excess seems to have abandoned. 'The current work has been germinating for a very long time, but seems a propos at the moment because Greece is so underappreciated,' [Scully] said. 'My work is a homage to Greece, but was also inspired by the battles fought against Cyrus and Xerxes, and the sacrifices that were made for all those values.' "
Michael Rutherford discovers a great trailer for the documentary film Sean Scully: The Bloody Canvas, produced by Yellow Asylum Films for RTE, directed by Alan Gilsenan with photography direction by Richard Kendrick. The film mixes audio interview with footage of Scully working in his studio.
As the film begins, Scully remarks: "In my kind of art, and in a lot of performance art, where people use their bodies strenuously, there's a definite relationship between physical exertion and a kind of spirituality, so that you reach an elevated sense through this physical committment that you make, and the idea of work and craft and committment and effort all come together in a kind of revelation."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.